Eric Girardin: eric.girardin[at]univ-amu.fr
Gaël Leboeuf: gael.leboeuf[at]univ-amu.fr
Christelle Lecourt: christelle.lecourt[at]univ-amu.fr
We examine how an entrepreneur-expressed humility affects early-stage investors’ willingness to fund a new venture. While leader humility has been shown to yield positive outcomes inside organizations, little is known about its effect on perceptions and behaviors of external resource providers, particularly in early-stage funding contexts. Drawing upon social exchange theory, we propose and test a dual path moderated mediation model that posits that entrepreneur-expressed humility positively affects investors’ willingness to fund. The findings of a randomized field experiment show that early-stage investors sense stronger interpersonal affect and trust and perceive higher team-building qualities for humble entrepreneurs relatively to non-humble entrepreneurs and these inferences explain their higher willingness to fund ventures led by humble entrepreneurs. This study extends knowledge on which aspects of entrepreneurial personality favor resource acquisition in early-stage ventures and contributes to the growing literature on the effect of leader humility on organizational performance.